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Old Apr 5, 2012, 7:21 AM   #1
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Default Killdeer

If there's one thing I've figured out about these birds, it's that while they are insanely nervous by people approaching them they are not bothered one bit by cars that roll past. I've tried to creep up on them a few times with my tripod but as soon as I'm within about 25' they puff up and run away. Enter - the Honda Civic Tripod. I hopped into my wife's car, backed it slowly out of the garage and down the driveway, and then carefully rested my lens on a kitchen towel draped over the driver's door frame. Voila - instant access with very little nervousness! I cropped it in such a way that they bird's eye was dead center on the "rule of 3rds" crosshair. Does that work? I even drove up the driveway a little more in hopes of a better angle, but the car would cast a shadow and block the early morning sun. This seemed my best position as the front bumper's shadow was about 6" to the left of the bird. Any other advice to help me improve? Next time I'm going a little slower on the aperture and hope to get more of the body in focus. Thanks!

Exposure 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture f/5.0
Focal Length 200 mm
ISO Speed 100

Killdeer by Quadna71, on Flickr
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Old Apr 5, 2012, 8:32 AM   #2
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The challenge in this composition is how to get the entire bird in focus (requires deep DoF) while still keeping the background blurred in order to avoid the distracting clutter of weeds (requires a shallow DoF). You got the most important part of the bird in focus, i.e. the eye, however the OoF tail causes me some visual dissonance. Perhapsa view from the side would work. Beautiful lighting.
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Old Apr 6, 2012, 6:02 PM   #3
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Nice shot- and yes- a smaller aperture will allow more of the bird to be in focus.
I wouldn't worry about other distracting elements in the foreground however-as this is the birds natural habitat.
Is this some sort of Plover...? Cute chappie...
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 10:46 PM   #4
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I'm personally not experiencing any visual dissonance though I suspect that I may have bad breath.

When the bird is oriented in a way that is not perpendicular to the camera it's perfectly acceptable IMO to have the tail oof. Look through the photographs of the great Moose Peterson. He has many bird shots where a bird is not oriented perpendicular to the camera and the tail is out of focus. IMO with the tail pointed at the camera there is really no good compositional reason for it to be in focus and it might have even distracted from the head, which is the really attractive part of the picture.

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Old Apr 9, 2012, 11:08 PM   #5
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The DoF works the way it is, it soften the bird back side.
Comments always welcome.
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